Project Euler Problem #60

November 20, 2016

Read the details of the problem here


Prime pair sets.


This problem took a little bit of thinking about, primarily to get it to perform adequately – on the basis that I’m trying to get this to run in under 5 seconds. When I first solved this problem I simply couldn’t get the computational performance out of Groovy to do the prime validation quickly enough and ended up calling out to a native Java method. With the introduction of the @CompileStatic AST transformation this has made it possible to do. After my next laptop upgrade, I’m going to be having to aim for maybe 2 seconds at the most on these questions!

The solution uses a fairly naive implementation of an isPrime() method which is still substantially faster than using BigInteger#isProbablePrime() from Groovy when using @CompileStatic – at least for the range of numbers being used here. I made an assumption that 4-digit primes would be sufficient to solve this question and, luckily, it worked out to be correct.

The program starts by constructing a list of primes mapped to a list of other primes that conform to the question’s constraints of both orders of concatenation also being prime. Using lists of strings rather than integers saves a lot of overhead in the subsequent checks. The lists only contain primes that are greater than the key. So, for example, 3’s list contains 7 (as both 37 and 73 are prime), but that of 7 doesn’t contain 3. Any numbers that have fewer than 4 entries in their list are dropped as a set of 5 primes are being sought. The lowest number in that set will have the full membership in it’s list.

Having generated this list of prime-pairs, a set of primes are grown to find a five members set that fulfil the criteria. At each recursion the entries of the list of the most recently added member are checked to make sure that they meet the concatenation criteria of each of the other member of the list (by making sure that it’s on their respective lists of potential pairs) and that it wouldn’t exceed the current minimum value found. For each of the values that fulfil this criteria, a recursion is called with this appended to the current list. The minimum value found for that particular path is returned. In this respect it’s like creating a directed graph with the nodes (of which there are only 1,227) being the primes and the edges (of which there are 17,845) being the fact that two nodes fulfil the concatenation criteria.

There are probably some algorithmic optimisations that could be made here but, as it is, the code is quite simple to understand.

import groovy.transform.CompileStatic

boolean isPrime(final int num) {

  if (num <= 1) return false
  if (num <= 3) return true
  if ((num % 2 == 0) || (num % 3 == 0)) return false

  int r = (int)Math.sqrt(num)
  int f = 5

  while (f <= r) {
    if (num % f == 0) return false
    if (num % (f + 2) == 0) return false
    f += 6


def getPrimePairs(maxnum) {

  def primes = ((2..maxnum).findAll { isPrime(it) })*.toString()
  def primeCount = primes.size()
  def pairs = [:]

  for (ip1 in 0..<primeCount - 1) {
    def sp1 = primes[ip1]
    pairs[sp1] = [] as Set
    for (ip2 in (ip1 + 1)..<primeCount) {
      def sp2 = primes[ip2]
      if (isPrime((sp1 + sp2).toInteger()) &&
          isPrime((sp2 + sp1).toInteger())) {
        pairs[sp1] << sp2
    if (pairs[sp1].size() < 4) pairs.remove(sp1)

def find5(list, min, pairs) {

  def sum = list*.toInteger().sum()
  if (list.size() == 5) return sum

  pairs[list[-1]].findAll { p -> ((sum + p.toInteger()) < min) &&
                                  (list.every { pairs[it].contains(p) }) }
                 .each { min = [ min, find5(list + it, min, pairs) ].min() }

def (answer, primePairs) = [ Integer.MAX_VALUE, getPrimePairs(10000) ]

for (p in primePairs.keySet()) {
  answer = [ answer, find5([p], answer, primePairs) ].min()

This executes in Groovy 2.4.7 under Java 8u112 in around 2.9 seconds, so within my 5 second cut-off. The build of the list of primes takes about 115 ms, with the construction of the prime pair map taking another 1.5 seconds. The isPrime() method is called around 850,000 times and takes around 960 ms of the total runtime.


Quite surprisingly, Groovy was perfectly good for this problem as long as @CompileStatic is used to optimise the isPrime() method. Left as dynamic, the runtime pushes out to just under 30 seconds. The Groovy listops made it easy to construct the prime-pair lists and for quite an expressive statement for the recursive descent conditions.

Project Euler Problem #54

November 18, 2016

Read the details of the problem here


Poker hands.


This was a straightforward programming problem rather than anything taxing from a mathematical perspective. I used Groovy listops to process the input file into a sorted list of [ count, face_value ] pairs that could then just be inspected in order of priority (along with some flags to indicate whether there was a monotonic sequence and a only a single suit in the hand) to rank the hand.

There are only 5 combinations of counts available (as given below). It would have been possible to simply check against these to provide a basic classification of the hand but with the need to have the flush and straight processing it just seemed easier and clearer to have the ranking done explicitly.

Count Permutations: [ 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 ], [ 2, 1, 1, 1 ], [2, 2, 1 ], [ 3, 2 ], [4, 1]

Ties were broken by using a base-13 (tridecimal) system with the rank being the most-significant digit and then using the first two group face values as the differentiators so a simple score was created for each hand. As it happened there were no clashes that weren’t broken by this method – it would have to be extended to subsequent cards and then suits (which were ignored in this question) otherwise, so you’d end up with a base-52 (duopentagecimal) system where each card had a unique value but were grouped unless there were clashes.

It didn’t take a lot of coding to get this done. It could be done more tersely, perhaps, but it would be more cryptic!

class Hand {

  private final _cards
  private final _isStraight
  private final _isFlush

  Hand(cardList) {
    def vals = cardList.collect { ['face': '23456789TJQKA'.indexOf(it[0]), 'suit': it[1]] }

    _isFlush = (vals.groupBy { it.suit }.size() == 1 )
    _cards   = vals.groupBy { it.face }
                   .collect { [ (it.value.size), it.key ] }
                   .sort { -(it[0] * 13 + it[1]) }
    _isStraight = (_cards.size() == 5) && (_cards[0][1] - _cards[-1][1] == 4)

  def score() {
    rank() * 169 + _cards[0][1] * 13 + _cards[1][1]

  def rank() {
    if (_isStraight && _isFlush && _cards[0][1] == 12) return 9
    if (_isStraight && _isFlush)                       return 8
    if (_cards[0][0] == 4 )                            return 7
    if (_cards[0][0] == 3 && _cards[1][0] == 2 )       return 6
    if (_isFlush)                                      return 5
    if (_isStraight)                                   return 4
    if (_cards[0][0] == 3 )                            return 3
    if (_cards[0][0] == 2 && _cards[1][0] == 2 )       return 2
    if (_cards[0][0] == 2)                             return 1

  def beats(opponent) {
    def (s1, s2) = [ this.score(), opponent.score() ]
    if (s1 > s2) return true
    assert (s1 != s2)

def answer = new File('pe054_poker.txt').readLines().count {
  def cards = it.split(" ")
  new Hand(cards[0..4]).beats(new Hand(cards[5..-1]))

This executes in Groovy 2.4.7 under Java 8u112 in around 0.25 seconds, so well within my 5 second cut-off.


Groovy was perfectly good for this problem with the simple file handling and listops allowing the input to be prepared for processing very easily.

Read the details of the problem here


Investigating multiple reflections of a laser beam.


A nice little problem and really helped by Euler providing the slope tangent for points on the ellipse. It’s a matter of finding the intersection point between the vector denoting the beam’s path and the ellipse equation and then reflecting it around the normal (at right angles to the tangent) of the mirror’s slope at that point (using the dot and cross products). This just repeated until the beam intersection is within a suitable tolerance of the entry/exit gap at the top.

def ( answer, epsilon ) = [ 0, 0.01d ]

def p0 = [ x:0.0d, y:10.1d ]
def p1 = [ x:1.4d, y:-9.6d ]

while ((answer < 1) ||
       !((Math.abs(p1.x) <= epsilon && (p1.y > 0.0)))) {


  def a = [ x:p0.x - p1.x, y:p0.y - p1.y ]
  def b = [ x:-4.0 * p1.x, y:-p1.y]

  def ( dotp, crossp ) = [  a.x * b.x + a.y * b.y,
                            a.x * b.y - b.x * a.y ]

  def c = [ x: dotp * b.x - crossp * b.y,
            y: crossp * b.x + dotp * b.y ]
  def s = (-2.0 * (4.0 * c.x * p1.x + c.y * p1.y)) /
          (4.0 * (c.x * c.x) + (c.y * c.y))
  def p2 = [ x:s * c.x + p1.x, y:s * c.y + p1.y ]

  ( p0, p1 ) = [ p1, p2 ]

This executes in Groovy 1.8.8 under Java 7u17 in around 0.12 seconds, so well within my 5 second cut-off.


Groovy made for quite a terse solution to this problem. The ability to use tuples with named members as lightweight point and vector classes was quite convenient and made for more readable code. The multiple assignment capability kept the LoC count down too. It’s important to include the ’d’ type signifiers on the starting values to force the use of doubles throughout the calculations. This is one of those Gr-r-r-oovy annoyances that I’d prefer not having to worry about though.

Groovin’ in Java

March 7, 2012

I’ve just been watching an interesting presentation on using Groovy as an additional toolkit in Java.  Groovy excels in handling XML, File I/O and JDBC, as well as offering good support for Collections and Closures (as regular readers of this blog already know!).  The type of things you typically need to do day-in-day-out for your regular job.

If you want to learn more about what you can do with Groovy in the real world take a look at the presentation on InfoQ – Improve Your Java with Groovy

The presenter, Ken Kousen, also has a good blog with some very useful information on using Groovy for doing regular & proper programming tasks – the sort of thing it’s really intended for – not what I do here!

He’s got a book in the works, Making Java Groovy, which should be coming out in late 2012.

Read the details of the problem here


How many continued fractions for N ≤ 10000 have an odd period?


It took a little while for me to understand how this was working so, to make it clearer this is essentially what’s required.

  1. Take the square root of the original number then…
  2. The integer portion becomes the next number in the sequence,
  3. Take the reciprocal of the remaining decimal portion,
  4. Take this number as input into Step 2.

Obviously, at step 3, if the decimal portion has been seen before, that sequence would just repeat from then on, so a cycle would have been found. In that respect it’s very similar to the solution for Problem #26.

As an example, here’s the trace for 23, with it’s square root – 4.79583.

n Digit Remainder
4.79583 4 0.79583
1.25655 1 0.25655
3.89792 3 0.89792
1.11369 1 0.11369
8.79583 8 0.79583
1.25655 1 0.25655

Whilst this works as an implemented algorithm for numbers with short sequences it breaks down on the longer ones, some of which are over 200 elements long, due to problems with precision. So I expanded out the algorithm to better reflect the way that Euler describes in the question and coded that up. I made the assumption that the sequence would start from the first position rather than an arbitrary one.

def cf(n) {
  def ( i, j, c, k ) = [ 0, 1, 0, null ]
  def sqrt_n = Math.sqrt(n)
  while (true) {
    j = (n - (i * i)).intdiv(j)
    i = -(i - ((int)(sqrt_n + i)).intdiv(j) * j)
    if ([i, j] == k) return c - 1
    if (c == 1) k = [i, j]

def answer = (2..10000).count {
  (((int)Math.sqrt(it)) ** 2 != it) && (cf(it) % 2)

This executes in Groovy 1.8.6 under Java 7u3 on my Samsung 700G7A i7-2670QM 2.2 GHz machine in around 0.45 seconds, so well within my 5 second cut-off (reduced from the old 15 seconds on my old machine). This runs quite fast as it only ever uses integers – apart from the initial sqrt calculation.


Didn’t use many Groovy features for this solution in the main apart from keeping the function initialization quite terse and the count listop on the number range. Performance was fairly good – though an equivalent Java solution does run in 55 ms – around 8 times faster.

Project Euler Problem #65

January 29, 2012

Read the details of the problem here


Find the sum of digits in the numerator of the 100th convergent of the continued fraction for e.


This question immediately reminded me of Problem #57 which ended up being quite a simple solution though it sounded involved initially. I took a look at that, and adopted a similar approach to this one.

The trick with this problem was to spot the pattern as to how the numerator changed down the sequence. As it turned out, the values of the denominator are superflous to this and can just be ignored for this purpose.

Taking the first ten terms as given (with a zeroth term for completeness) given this is how it works:

Term Numerator Multiplier Formula
0 1    
1 2 2 2 * num0
2 3 1 1 * num1 + num0
3 8 2 2 * num2 + num1
4 11 1 1 * num3 + num2
5 19 1 1 * num4 + num3
6 87 4 4 * num5 + num4
7 106 1 1 * num6 + num5
8 193 1 1 * num7 + num6
9 1264 6 6 * num8 + num7
10 1457 1 1 * num9 + num8

So this can be summarised as:

numn = muln * numn-1 + numn-2

Where n is the term being calculated and muln is the nth element of the continued fraction.  This is simply n / 3 * 2 when n mod 3 == 0, and 1 otherwise.

Given that the multipliers work in triplets, this can be used to advantage and reduce the number of calculations required. I created a function that given the n-1 and n-2 numerators, and a term number could calculate the next three numerators in the sequence. It meant that I didn’t have to do any modulus calculations as long as I kept the boundary aligned correctly i.e. only call it for terms, 2, 5, 8, etc. which were the start of the triplets.

Starting at term 2, I then called this recursively until it was being asked to calculate the 101st term. At this point the 100th term would be the n-1 numerator value and could be returned.

def f(p1, p2, tc) {
  if (tc == 101) return p1
  def m = p1 + p2
  def n = ((tc + 1).intdiv(3) * 2) * m + p1
  f(n + m, n, tc + 3)

def answer =
    (f(2G, 1G, 2).toString() as List)*.toInteger().sum()

This runs in around 115 ms, with sum of the digits taking about 10 ms. A port of this code to Java runs in around 1.3 ms in total.


Groovy was a nice language to do this in. Not having to mess about with BigInteger objects explicitly is always a boon in the Java world. Performance was quite disappointing though – given that f() is only ever called with BigInteger arguments the compiler should be able to work out exactly what types the variables are and the generated bytecode should be pretty similar to that which javac outputs…but it’s not. In this case Groovy is nearly two orders of magnitude slower and I really don’t see a good reason for it at this stage in the language maturity.

Project Euler Problem #243

January 21, 2012

Read the details of the problem here


Find the smallest denominator d, having a resilience R(d) < 15499 ⁄ 94744


Due to real-life intrusion I haven’t been doing much Project Euler for the last few months but a conversation with a colleague at work the other day brought the subject up and I thought I’d revisit the site.

They’ve changed their format quite a lot now and though it’s still fundamentally the same, the concept of “badges” has been introduced – “awards” above and beyond just the old numbers of puzzles solved (which is now more granular). I’m a sucker for things like that and one of them – “Trinary Triumph” – just needed one more question to complete so it was, as the saying goes, like a red rag to a bull!

The problem was actually worded quite straightforwardly, and a little thought showed that this was very similar to Problem #69 and Problem #70. The numerator in the resilience function is going to be the count of terms that are relatively prime to the denominator i.e. Euler’s Totient (φ) function. The solution to Problem #69 was found by maximising n/φ(n) whereas, in this problem we’re looking to minimize φ(d)/(d-1) – so it’s essentially the same thing. The answer is likely to be found by looking for a number consisting of the product of many small prime factors perhaps with some multiplier (also a product of small primes) i.e. some of those factors may be of a higher power.

Problem #108 and Problem #110 also tackled the domain of products of powers of primes and the solution to the latter seemed a good place to start as the one to the former ended up as being a bit of a lucky hack. As per that solution, taking the approach of assuming that the answer was to be found somewhere at n * product(prime factors) and driving off that meant that factorisation of large numbers wasn’t needed so Groovy would remain a viable language to do this in.

Again, when doing these problems with Groovy, it’s best to try to work out the potential scope ahead of runtime as it doesn’t perform that well at number crunching.

What I did need to how to calculate the totient value for numbers with large numbers of factors – I’d kind of worked it out from a bit of guess work for two factors when doing Problem #70 but this wouldn’t work for this. Luckily Wikipedia came to the rescue giving the formula quite succinctly as:

φ(n) = n(1-1/p1)(1-1/p2)…(1-1/pr).

Using this I found that the product of a prime sequence 2..23 gave a totient above what was being sought, whilst 2..29 was a potential solution itself. The answer probably fell somewhere between these two and this therefore formed the search space.

I then just reused the helper function I’d used in Problem #110 with a bit of an educated guess as to what the maximum power might be. If the multipler was 25 i.e. 32, this would exceed the solution of the longer prime sequence – so a maximum power of 4 seemed reasonable to use. I also seeded the generator function with the assumption that all of the primes between 2..23 were going to be factors – this seemed a reasonable assumption given what I knew of the totient function characteristics.

def gen_powers(range, maxlen, yield) {
  gen_powers(range, maxlen, [], yield)

def gen_powers(range, maxlen, pows, yield) {
  if (pows.size() == maxlen)
  else if (pows.size() == 0)
    range.each { gen_powers(range, maxlen, [it], yield) }
    range.findAll { it >= pows[0] }
         .each { gen_powers(range, maxlen, [it]+pows, yield) }

def ( answer, TARGET, POWER_RANGE ) = [ Long.MAX_VALUE, 15499/94744, (0..4) ]
def primes = [ 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29 ]

gen_powers(POWER_RANGE, primes.size(), [1] * primes.size()- 1) { powers ->
  def (d, factors) = [ 1G, [] ]
  powers.eachWithIndex { v, i ->
    d *= primes[i] ** v
    if (v > 0) factors << primes[i]
  if ((d > 1) &&
      (answer > d) &&
      (((int)(factors.inject(d) { p, v -> p * (1 - 1/v) })) / (d-1) < TARGET)) {
    answer = d

Despite the heavy use of the slow Groovy listops (and a bit of hacky code) this runs in around 940 ms.

Next will be Problem #65, a question on continued fractions, that will give me my “As Easy As Pi” award!


With the upfront analysis on the problem and the re-use of the power generator, Groovy made it easy to put together a terse solution that ran in a reasonable time. When doing the calculation of the value of the denominator I did find myself missing Python’s map() capability to process two lists against a closure and return a result. Sounds like the sort of thing that should be in there, maybe it’s buried in the Groovy docs somewhere…